What’s new?

Some of you might have been wondering what I’ve been up to lately. There hasn’t been that much activity at the blog and one or the other might have feared I lost interest in blogging or even *gasp* the hobby altogether. Far from it!

I was pretty busy reading several new (at least to me) roleplaying games, I am still actively playing in quite a few online games and there are a couple of blog posts brewing in the back of my head.

At the moment I am actually struggling with a review I wanted to write for quite some time. Free League Publishing was nice enough to send me a copy of MÖRK BORG – a game which looks great – but I find it pretty hard to review. In a way, it’s more art project than game, and I find it hard to do it justice. So that’s what my review takes longer than usual. I hope the final result will be worth the wait.

Aside from that I am currently hunting one of my white whales: a D&D sandbox campaign. It’s something I wanted to do for ages, and I really feel now might be the perfect opportunity to prepare such a game. I already have a few interested players and even a couple of ideas, BUT I can’t make up my mind when it comes to the rules I want to use. I’ve looked into Basic D&D, but I just can’t deal with descending armor classes and some of the quirkness which come with rulesets from the 1980s. Swords & Wizardry Complete looks very compelling, but so does White Box. Especially the latter makes it very easy to mold the rules to my liking. The Hero’s Journey 2nd Edition looks awesome as well, but might not quite fit what I had in mind. I’ll make a decision … eventually.

On the last weekend I ran Shadowrun Anarchy for the third time and it worked pretty well. I didn’t really do much prep at all, but just picked one of the contact briefs and improvised. I played it a bit fast and loose with the rules, but I felt it worked well for an online game and the players didn’t mind. There’s some interest to turn this into a campaign, but we haven’t really decided on anything yet.

This is kind of a big deal for me since I struggled hard with running any games for quite some time. If I am not mistaken I haven’t run more than a couple sessions in the last two to three years but slowly but surely I am overcoming my anxiety. I am actually pretty excited to run games for my friends again.

2020 hasn’t really turned out in the way I thought it would. Especially this pandemic we’re currently wrangling with threw a wrench into a lot of our plans, but luckily playing tabletop roleplaying games online is a thing nowadays. Running Shadowrun Anarchy over Roll20 actually worked great so I might be tempted to start another online-only game in the near future.

What have you been up to lately? How has the pandemic affected your gaming life? Is there anything you really want to talk about? Please share your comments below!

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

5 thoughts on “What’s new?”

  1. I’m glad that you’ve been able to continue role-playing during the pandemic!

    Among old-school Renaissance retro-clones, I like the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game (not to be confused with BRP) and Dungeon Crawl Classics. Hex-crawl and sandbox campaigns require a different sort of preparation than standard modules, but they can be very satisfying.

    My regular biweekly face-to-face fantasy groups have moved online without too much difficulty. In addition, I’ve run a series of one-shots for out-of-town friends. Two of them — a “Star Trek” scenario and revisiting an older higher-level D&D party — were successful enough to turn into longer-term, monthly games! Stay healthy, and happy gaming!

  2. Regarding retro-clones: Yesterday I took the plunge and ordered a copy of Old-School Essentials. It will take a while for the boxed set to arrive but I already checked out the PDFs and it looks perfect especially with the Advanced Fantasy Rules thrown in.

  3. I’ve noticed the tone of my group’s game has changed. We’ve started a weekly game using the delightful new Warlock! rpg (Advanced Fighting Fantasy meets WFRP) from Fire Ruby Designs, and find I’m mixing in the humour more than ever.

    Stay healthy everyone !

    1. Ooooh, there is a new Fire Ruby Designs game I haven’t bought yet? Can you share some of your thoughts of the game? I love Greg Saunders work, have a soft spot for AFF and WFRP both, so I was wondering if I should check it out.

      1. I like simple games with depth and this hits that sweet spot. Stats are Stamina and Luck, skills come from Career, combat is handled by opposed rolls using d20 making attacking risky as highest roll strikes, spells can miscast, there are crit hit tables. Advancement is cleverly handled. the writing hits the right tone. In play, very easy to run. Very hackable too.

        Well worth a look – one of those games where you think ‘Why hasn’t someone done this before?’

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